Art Term. Post-painterly abstraction is a blanket term covering a range of new developments in abstract painting in the late s and early s, characterised by a more rigorous approach to abstraction. It grew very directly out of the existing traditions of abstract art , synthesising elements from Jackson Pollock , Mark Rothko and Barnett Newman as well as looking to Ad Reinhardt and Ellsworth Kelly , to the late work of Henri Matisse and to the targets and flags of Jasper Johns. However, the post-painterly abstractionists were ruthless in their rejection of the inwardness and mysticism of abstract expressionism and of any residual references to the external world, and they also explored new approaches to composition. What they created was a purely factual kind of art which, more than ever before, functioned in terms of the basic elements of the medium itself; form , colour, texture , scale, composition and so on. In an exhibition of thirty-one artists associated with these developments was organised by the critic Clement Greenberg at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.
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Post-painterly abstraction is a term created by art critic Clement Greenberg as the title for an exhibit he curated for the Los Angeles County Museum of Art in , which subsequently travelled to the Walker Art Center and the Art Gallery of Toronto.
Greenberg had perceived that there was a new movement in painting that derived from the abstract expressionism of the s and s but "favored openness or clarity" as opposed to the dense painterly surfaces of that painting style. Among the prior generation of contemporary artists, Barnett Newman has been singled out as one who anticipated "some of the characteristics of post-painterly abstraction. As painting continued to move in different directions, initially away from abstract expressionism , powered by the spirit of innovation of the time, the term "post-painterly abstraction", which had obtained some currency in the s, was gradually supplanted by minimalism , hard-edge painting , lyrical abstraction , and color field painting.
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It was more a process of art self-awareness. Among Modernist painting movements, Post-Painterly Abstraction was one of the last to emerge before Post-Modernist attitudes gained prominence in the late 20th Century. Paint accumulates in layers and heaps, creating ridges and valleys. In a Post-Painterly Abstract painting there are no visible brush strokes.
The phrase "Post-painterly abstraction" was first used in by the art critic Clement Greenberg as the title for an exhibition of 20th century paintings he curated for the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. The show, featuring abstract art by contemporary American and Canadian artists - all second generation exponents of Abstract Expressionism - subsequently travelled to the Walker Art Centre, Minneapolis, and the Art Museum of Toronto now the Art Gallery of Ontario. Greenberg borrowed the word "painterly" from the German art historian Heinrich Wolfflin , who employed it in his book Principles of Art History , to mean "the blurred, broken, loose definition of colour and contour. By Ellsworth Kelly, an early exponent of hard-edge painting in the s and 50s. For the chronology and dates of key events in the evolution of visual arts around the world see: History of Art Timeline. In an article for the exhibition catalogue, Greenberg discussed a number of differing styles and tendencies in contemporary American art.